These past few weeks in TRIP have been busy ones. Between doing experiments, data analysis, and development counting, it was cool to actually perform the things that the instructors had helped us design. My independent project has focused mainly on the effect of lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomatoes, and how it can be used to counteract DNA damage caused by ultraviolet radiation (UV).
I performed two assays: the Larval Locomotion and Memory Assay.
In all honesty, I found the locomotive assay to be my least favorite of the two. The purpose of it was to see how each lycopene and UV affected the activity and ability to move aof the larvae. It was really simple to perform. The memory assay was fun to set up and carry out, even though there was a lot of waiting.
Overall, the TRIP experience has been really great and I’m really glad I had the opportunity to meet new people and try and learn new things. It’s given me a better understanding of how I work and allowed me to understand the aspects that I need to work the most on when it comes to my work process. I’m sad to see that it has to end but all good things must come to an at some point, right? I’ll always remember my experience with TRIP and the things I’ve learned.
Wow, 5 weeks has passed in a blur! I feel like it was literally just yesterday when I was meeting all of these people, and introducing myself. Yet strangely, so much has happened since then. Not only did we quickly all familiarize ourselves with each other, we have also just completed lab work and research for our independent research projects. My independent project centered around Parkinson’s Disease and its effect on the microbiome. Since Omega 3 is meant to decrease inflammation in inflammatory neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s is an inflammatory neurodegenerative disease, I figured it would help the microbiome, and help alleviate symptoms from the Parkinsonism.
For my independent project, I performed two assays: the negative geotaxis assay and the microbiome test. The negative geotaxis assay was a lot of tedious work, such as sorting with ice and running the risk of condensation drowning flies, and running through all your vials 7 times everyday during lab, however the assay produced a lot of useful results. For example, the negative geotaxis assay told me numerically just how far the average fly from each vial travelled, and it was easy for me to produce graphs that visually displayed my results too. At first glance, the microbiome assay looked difficult with all the different materials used to culture the bacteria. Really, all of the complicated stuff is to make sure that no other types of bacteria outside of their gut microbiome gets into your sample and contaminates it. In simple terms, the microbiome assay requires sterilizing the outside of your flies, smashing the bodies into tiny pieces in certain amounts of broth that helps culture bacteria, then diluting that solution, and dripping it onto an agar plate so you can isolate colonies and grow them in the incubator. To quantify your colonies, you look at color, shape and size to distinguish different species and types of bacteria. Both of these assays were honestly a lot of fun, and though there were frustrations and failures along the way, I’m really glad I used these two for my project.
After five sessions, the results of the assay is that Omega 3 ALONE greatly boosts the flies’ activity and motility in the negative geotaxis assay, and also helps diversify the microbiome. However, when Omega 3 is combined with the Paraquat, as in flies with Parkinsonism also take the drug, they are much more likely to die and perform even poorer on the negative geotaxis test than the flies who were treated with only Paraquat. The flies treated with paraquat also had lower amounts of bacteria and less diversity in the microbiome. This brings up more questions that beg for more research such as… should people with Parkinson’s limit their intake on foods with Omega 3? Could looking at the microbiome and how it is affected by Parkinson’s lead to better treatment for those affected or a cure?
TRIP has clearly given me extensive knowledge of research and flies, and a broader perspective in the general field of science. However, despite the focus of this program being the flies, and how to treat them, we’ve gained something more invaluable: we’ve learned how to be curious, courteous scientists. We understand how to behave in a real life work or lab scenario, and we have formed bonds with people who will likely lead our society to big things in the future. We know how to ask questions, be professional, and have taken great steps in public speaking. Most importantly, we have been shown the true purpose of science: it’s asking important questions that may improve people’s lives, and presenting this in a way that others may understand it. Because of TRIP, I can truly see my future ending up intertwined with science and research.
After testing the effects of Sertraline (Zoloft) on flies for the past couple of weeks through the centrophobism assay, I finally had my data and was able to come to a conclusion. It seemed that gender did end up making a difference drug effectiveness. In the Centrophobism Assay, I observed that the males flies crossed the center more often than the females exposed to the same dosage, suggesting the anxiety of the male flies decreased to a significantly higher degree than that of the females. Zoloft was also found to increase activity levels, as flies who consumed higher amounts of Sertraline were found to spend more time moving than those with exposed to less drug. The females required higher dosages than the males in order to become as active as them. This could be due to the fact that the females are larger than the males and thus require more of the drug to experience the same effects. If so, this would probably translate to humans in that males, as they are typically larger than females, would require higher dosages of Sertraline than females to experience the same effects.
Conducting these assays was very intriguing, as it was interesting to see the data come together and understand the effects of the drug, which I had been wondering about for weeks. I ended up partially disproving my hypothesis, as although I had predicted the drug to be more effective in reducing female anxiety, I had predicted that it would decrease activity when it actually ended up increasing activity.
Furthermore, not only did I enjoy conducting my research, but I also had a blast with a bunch of new friends that I made through this program. Coming from many different schools, it was neat to see us all become great friends and have so much fun together. From trying and filming many challenges (and failing) to racing one another (or just watching), we made memories that we will all cherish for a long time. It was super neat to get to know one another, as well as the fabulous instructors we had. Thank you so much to Dr. Purdy, Miss P., Dr. Gardiner, Pooja, and Surali for teaching us so much, challenging us, and being super supportive. Thank you also to my wonderful new friends; I wish you all the best!
Wow, how quickly 5 weeks can go by. It feels like just yesterday when the 8 of us were just meeting over a modified game of ice-breaker bingo. Although it was sad to realize that our last TRIP class ended, it's fascinating just to imagine how my peers, including myself, will apply this experience when we enter the adult world over the course of the next few years. Anyway, I’m not going to spend anymore time talking about the future, because I got a lot of data I need to analyze, ASAP.
With the symposium right around the corner, I am in the process of finalizing my presentation, which means I have to analyze the colossal amount of data I have collected over the past couple of weeks. I am studying the effects of artificial sweeteners, in specific sucralose found in Splenda, on the overall health of fruit flies. My questions about what I wanted to analyze has morphed over the last couple of research sessions, starting with obesity and ending with activity and metabolism. Next step? Finding out what my data means!
With the program coming to an end, I have spent a little time reflecting on the journey TRIP has taken me on for the better part of my summer. I started off with very minimal out-of-school lab experience; I didn’t even know what a micropipette was, let alone how to use it. But, as soon as the program began, I knew that this would be the place to help foster my passion for science. All the instructors, including the TAs, were there to help me and my peers around every corner. They didn’t just give me the answers to my questions, though; they made me think about how I could approach a solution, and if I was not on the right track, they would guide me there with little hints along the way. This taught me that not all the answers you are looking for are right in front of you, and that problem solving can be the key to unlocking those answers. All in all, I am very grateful for this program, as it has taught me how to become better at something I didn’t even know I enjoyed.
Hello again, it's Lataviya. So far TRIP has been absolutely wonderful especially since I have a strong interest in science. My time at TRIP taught me that mistakes can be turned into lessons especially in a laboratory or anything related to science, I learned that I like working with my hands, and that I hate feeling as if I am disorganized.
But anyway, after me and others did a practice experiment, I worked on my independent project. My project is focused on studying the effect of coffee on fruit flies. I wanted to figure out how different doses of coffee effects female fertility and activity of male flies. The reason why I ended up testing coffee was because I happen to drink coffee right before school starts so that I will decrease the chance of me falling asleep in class. Since I really care about my fertility rate and how coffee affects that I wanted to see if there was any type of negative or positive reaction from coffee in fertility. After doing 3 trials of the experiment I ended with having a decrease in fertility as I go up on dosage of coffee. To narrow it down, a few cups of coffee decreases your fertility rate (the number of embryos laid).
After this experiment, I kept track of how much coffee i consume, so now I won't drink coffee as much I did before. As much as I love coffee I would still have to care about my health especially if I care so much about my fertility rate.
Well we have reached the conclusion of our individual experimentation and I can confidently say that this lab experience has been one of the most informative experiences for me. Functioning in a lab goes far beyond the correct operation of micropipettes and weighing scales. To succeed in the lab, you have to manage a plethora of responsibilities through organization, time-management, discipline, focus, and clarity of mind. Especially in a lab setting, where quantities, biology, and chemistry are in play, mistakes cannot afford to be made. Before suiting up in a lab coat and goggles, I’ve learned that the planning of an experiment and proper development of ideas is 90% of the effort.
In truth, I should have approached my planning far more thoroughly than I did, expanding even more on my prior research and daily activities. Only through the effective guidance of my mentors and incessant notes/logs in my notebook did I manage to keep everything afloat till the end. But in professional research settings, in universities and institutions, planning and research are the most integral facets of research. This principle extends far beyond the life sciences. Research conducted in every field follows the notion that planning should never be underestimated. For a long time, I have trusted myself with organization and planning but this research experience has taught me that no amount of preparation is too much.
To conclude the weeks long discussion on my experiment, I have also learned that the outcomes of an experiment may not always perfectly align with your hypothesis. But that’s okay. After an experiment, the only thing that matters is that you have reached viable conclusions on a research question that you have decided to pursue. And I am far from disappointed with my results. For minds like mine, which feel inclined to try anything and everything impulsively, I now have the wisdom and experience to caution us to slow down and logically think things through. Despite partaking in science fairs for a number of years, I never had the chance to work with such knowledgeable mentors and aides like those I have had here at TRIP. Years of working in labs and living in the world of science have given them a new intuition and sixth sense about their disciplines and this knowledge is invaluable to the rising generation of scientists and academics.
Hey everyone, I can’t believe TRIP is already over. My experiences in this program really allowed me to grow as a student while also making my summer amazing. This program taught me to think through failure, self sufficiency and vital presentation skills. I highly recommend TRIP for anyone interested in science because it will increase your passion and show you life in the lab. I am grateful for this program and will miss working with everyone. As someone had said, time passes away, but sweet memories always stay.
In terms if my independent project, I got some interesting results. I debunked the anxiety theory as there was no trend. Also, Zantac decreased the amount of gut bacteria and changed the diversity. I was also surprised to see that the percent eclosion decreased. Perhaps the fact that Zantac inhibits Histamine 2 (which acts as a neurotransmitter) is responsible for the decrease in eclosion. However, there is one thing that is clear, there is more to this acid reducer than meets the eye.
Wow! What an incredible experience! I had so much fun during my time at the TRIP program and, honestly, I wish it would keep going! I made a lot of great friends that I know I will continue to talk to for years to come. This experience is one that I will remember for a lifetime.
As for my project, things are going well. I am almost done editing my slideshow and I’m ready to start practice presenting it. I’m a little nervous for the final symposium but not too much. My project yielded some interesting results, as it turned out that the constantly smoking flies were actually the least anxious. This makes sense since cigarettes are supposed to help you relax, but this still surprised me.
Hey guys! Hope you guys had a wonderful weekend and are enjoying your days off. I am really excited to see how my flies have fared against their higher dosage of head trauma when given painkillers to relieve stress on the brain. I bet you are wondering why I gave the flies’ head trauma and painkillers? Well I’m glad you asked!
My independent project is to test whether tylenol or excedrin will help with a concussion. The reason behind this experiment is because we’ve all had headaches before. As for me personally I take tylenol or excedrin depending on the pain level of the headache. So I figured with fruit flies being 70% percent genetically like humans, I wanted to test if given a concussion, would tylenol or excedrin work for them like it has worked for me on numerous occasions.
As for the internship itself I have no complaints whatsoever. I couldn’t have asked for a different internship. It’s fun and we are very interactive with one another. The support of not only the teachers, but my peers, and student helpers as well is outstanding, Not only that, but this internship combines my two favorite subjects both math and science where I can create and experiment things of my choice. It’s very fun and the people are more than friendly. Being involved in the internship was one of the most memorable things about my summer and I’m happy I could spend part of my summer within the TRIP community.
Hi again everyone!
We’re currently halfway through the TRIP program and I honestly cannot imagine a better summer without TRIP. I admit, the first few days of lecture were a bit of a struggle since there was so much to learn about the lab, but I wouldn’t change anything about my experience at TRIP. There are so many amazing people to learn from and to work with, it’s an incredible experience I recommend to everyone!
Since my last blog, we’ve already begun our independent projects. For my project, I’m studying the long term effects of Metformin on development and cognitive function. If I were reading that sentence two weeks ago, I would not have understood a word past “effects”, so I completely understand that it sounds very foreign. Metformin is a drug used for people with Type 2 diabetes and there are a few mixed studies regarding whether Metformin has an affect on memory. I plan on studying the movement of flies over time to see if increasing doses of Metformin can have an effect on cognitive function and development. So far I’ve set up my food vials with flies to study this week. I’m really excited to see how far they’ve come since I’ve last seen them. Fingers crossed they haven’t died!